Saturday, September 25, 2010

Time Management

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."
-Ephesians 5:15-21

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these verses. They are so succint. It's like the Holy Spirit writing through Paul doesn't even want to waste our time as we read this. He's short, he's sweet, and to the point. He knows the way we spend our time is valuable, so instruction in the area of what we should be filling our time with is not just a luxury, but a necessity if we're to walk out this journey of faith. Time management is one of the biggest areas in my life that I struggle with. But I see in this verse a picture of a balanced Christian life. And while I am not living it at this moment, it's the goal before me in these verses. So what does a balanced Christian life look like? What does it mean to manage our time wisely? Here is what I see in these verses:

1. The Christian life should be lived with the end in sight. In other words, I should continually be asking myself if the things I am choosing to spend my time on are things that have eternal value and significance.

2. The days are evil. This shouldn't be a revelation to any Christian, but how often do I feel shocked when the world seems to run backwards to all that is good and perfect and true? When we live in revelation of this truth, it should be freeing and empowering. Not to despair, but to accept the reality in which we live and expect that when we seek to live a life for God, we WILL ENCOUNTER RESISTANCE. Just like a soldier on a battlefield, I should never leave the weapons of my warfare at home, but keep them on at all times, ready to engage the enemy and shine His light into dark places. And our weapons are not carnal, earthly weapons. The word of God hidden within the human heart, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation...all of the weapons that we find listed in Ephesians 6- these are our weapons.

3.It takes some degree of seeking and wisdom to find the will of God for my life. It will not come automatically. At the same time, God wants to reveal His will to me. He knows my weaknesses and He has a plan that accounts for them. He is constantly working behind the scenes in my life to bring me to a greater knowledge of Him. He pursued me first. I was not the one who pursued him in my sinful state. Nevertheless, I have a part to play in this, and it is not a passive one. If wisdom came automatically, I would not have to seek to understand the will of God.

4. True joy and peace in my life will never be found in any addiction or physical high, but only in knowing my God more and more. In knowing Him and serving Him with a grateful heart, a wellspring of joy will flow out of me to give His life to others. Such a simple truth, but how many people try to find fulfillment and escape the pain of life through the path of addiction?

5. Submission is a key part of God's plan for EVERY believer's life. I know this is almost a dirty word in our culture today. We value independence and free thinking in America, not laying your will, your agenda down to serve another. However, God's kingdom does NOT work according to the same rules as the one we live in here on earth. To be great for God, you have to be willing to make yourself last --To love another person more than you love yourself.

That is what I see in these verses. I struggle so much in this area, often because I do NOT do one or more of these things. I have never struggled with drug addiction, but I believe I have struggled with filling my time with entertainment in order to avoid painful realities in my life. I definitely struggle with submission, not just to my husband, but also to my God. There are many times by my actions I show that my true belief is that I know better how to run my life than He does. Sometimes I am just plain lazy. I know the will of God is available to me if I seek it, but I grow weary in well doing. And it is easier to be passive and just "eat, drink, and be merry." But God is so patient with me.

Well my goal for next week is to get in bed by 10 pm each night and get up by 6 am. We'll see how it goes. Sometimes the things we know are the best things for us, though simple, are still the hardest things to discipline ourselves to do.

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